The Mets open their season at home against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 29. Most likely the starter for the Cards will be right-hander Carlos Martinez, who made the NL all-star team in 2017. It is early, but maybe we can project a possible opening day batter order for the Mets.
1. Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera. He has hit well in the early going in ST, and he got on base at a pretty good clip in 2017, with a .351 OBP.
2. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. Manager Mickey Callaway likes the idea of batting his best hitter second, and has experimented with Cespedes hitting second this spring.
3. Right Fielder Jay Bruce. Bruce has been a consistent power hitter since he broke in, and he smacked 36 homers last year.
4. Third baseman Todd Frazier. He too provides power in the heart of the lineup with 27 HR in 2017.
5. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez. With a righty (Martinez) likely on the mound for St. Louis, the left-handed Gonzalez will probably get the start, despite his underwhelming 2017. When a lefty pitches, Wilmer Flores would be a reasonable platoon option to play first.
6. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud. The veteran backstop did hit 16 home runs with a SLG of .443 last season.
7. Center fielder Juan Lagares. His exceptional defense puts him in the lineup despite the right handed pitcher. If his new batting stroke does not pan out this spring, it could be Brandon Nimmo playing center for the opener, and likely batting leadoff.
8. Pitcher Noah Syndergaard. Callaway has said in certain instances he will bat his pitcher eighth, and Syndergaard is one of the better hitting pitchers in the league.
9. Shortstop Amed Rosario. His rookie season was a disappointment, but if he can harness his tools he’ll be batting a lot higher in the batting order as the season progresses.
This batting order as constructed would feature a switch-hitter batting first, and then an alteration of right and left-handed batters through the six spot, making it tougher for opposing managers to match up relievers late in the game.
Jacob deGrom has a great claim to be the opening day starter, but since he has fallen behind a bit in getting innings in ST, it seems more likely that it will be Syndergaard on the hill for opening day.
In this order Cabrera bats leadoff, but another possibility is Frazier, who had a 2017 OBP of .344, just a tick below Cabrera. Frazier is better on the basepaths than the slow-footed Cabrera is. If Frazier leads off, Cabrera would probably slide down to the fifth or sixth spot in the batting order.
Had Michael Conforto been available for the start of the season, he would would be starting in center field, and possibly batting leadoff, as he did often in 2017. He also profiles well as a batter in the three spot of the lineup with his power.
This lineup won’t remind anyone of the ‘27 Yankees, but it seems about as good as the 2015 Mets squad, which of course was a pennant winner.